Chamber's website tops list of goals

The Philip Chamber of Commerce is closer to initiating a new website.

Marie Slovek, the designer and updating coordinator for the Haakon School District website, addressed the chamber during its Monday, November 9, meeting. She and Christine Andrus illustrated that their preliminary homepage design would be simpler, less cluttered and far more user friendly than the current chamber's website.

"The current website has a lot of information and its great, but everything is buried," said Andrus.

Slovek said, "The existing site has to be simplified, it has writing that is too small and there are advertizements that you don't have any control over." Slovek illustrated a suggested welcoming page, one that is basically brown yet has a "new flash" appeal. "This template was more 'westerny' I guess. Others just weren't appealing, or were hard on the eye. A dark background with white lettering just isn't easy to read. We are trying to draw people here."

Everything on the original website is being downloaded onto the proposed site. Deb Smith is provided up-to-date photographs. The recreation page will still include hunting, but less, due to the presentation of other attractions such as Lake Waggoner, rodeo, golf, softball and others.

"My first question was, 'Do we need all of this on every page, or is it just clutter?'" asked Slovek. "This proposed single business page is where you will be linking to every business that has a website, such as the hospital or Scotchmans, or at least see the basic information on businesses that don't have a link. Updating it would be just like a word document. I will do it, just as long as it doesn't become a full time job, and I don't see that ever happening. I want your input and opinions."

Glenn Parsons said, "The chamber will have to list various businesses, some of which that a weblink just won't do them any benefit." Kent Olson said, "I go to different websites all day. This one is more than appealing." Don Ravellette said, "We should make sure we get our business links on first. The pictures are nice, but can wait a bit. If a list of businesses or a business link is empty, that's just not good." Chip Kemnitz said, "I'd rather not have a link than have a dead link or one under construction."

A discussion ensued about what benefits businesses will have if they are members of the Philip chamber. Kemnitz said, "We want to promote the variety and attractions of our community, but we have to give the chamber members something."

A more finalized version of the new website will be presented at the next chamber meeting. How soon it can be up and running, and the exact benefits of a business being a chamber member, will be determined then.

The audience then heard the secretary's report. The Lasting Legacy account for upkeep and improvement is to be made as perpetual as possible. The recent annual chili cook-off was a great success and had a good turn out. On Saturday, November 21, the American Legion will hold a game night. On Saturday, November 28, the Friends of the Library will host a roller skating fundraiser from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Legion Hall. Roller skates will be provided. Three Philip Chamber of Commerce officer positions are up for election. A chamber membership drive and a fun night are being planned for the near future.

The Prairie Expo will be held again in Philip, this time on Saturday, January 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Ravellette said, "We are going to need some set-up help the night before or the morning of. Otherwise, most of the preparation work will be handled by the Extension Office. This is Philip's deal, but Faith, Kadoka and communities down the line can participate. Letters will be going out to local businesses and to surrounding communities. If other businesses are members of their own chambers, they will get the Philip chamber discount. Older kids, through 4-H, will put on activities for younger kids, while other stuff for adults is going on."

Ravellette continued, "Last time we had to be really creative with limited space, lots of booths and electrical needs. This time we will use both gyms, with concessions and a meal being run between the two. Outside, we will have pens-of-three with Bull Bucks being awarded to the top three livestock winners. We are expecting a real good turn out and a good time."

The next chamber meeting will include an analysis of its now year-old business format. Parsons said, "After being part of the chamber using the previous way for six years, this way is a lot easier." Olson said, "For me this is working better. People give opinions and speak up. There is enough going on to keep discussion and comments going." Kemnitz said, "And, if we can get more stuff going, we'll fill this place right up with business members." Ravellette said, "We've done quite a lot. If we keep going, we'll be doing real fine."

It has been determined by the federal government that the new visitors center for the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site will be constructed north of Interstate 90 exit 131. This is the location that the chamber was lobbying for.

The next regular chamber meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 14.